Designer Profiles

Meet Design Professionals who Work with Falcon

Falcon is pleased to work with talented architects, designers and project managers across the United States. These design professionals tackle a wide range of projects — from college classrooms to retirement homes. Each of them has a different approach to design, but they all seek to create spaces that foster a sense of community. Falcon is proud to offer a complete line of chairs, tables and booths that’s flexible enough to meet the varied needs of our customers.

Erla  Sólveig Óskarsdóttir Designer of Falcon's CURV seating

Icelandic designer Erla Sólveig Óskarsdóttir graduated with a diploma in industrial design from The Danish Design School in 1993. Since then she has lived and worked in Reykjavík as a freelance designer, focusing on furniture design. 

Along with working independently, she has collaborated with various production companies in Europe, Latin America and USA. Erla has participated in numerous exhibitions and many of her creations have been honored internationally. 

The Red Dot Design Award 1998, Köln | IF Product Design Award 1999, Hannover | Silver Award, Best of NeoCon 99, Chicago | Design of the Year 1999 Iceland | Design Award 1999 Iceland | Silver Award, Best of NeoCon 02 , Chicago | Premio Lapis Acero 2007, Colombia | IF Product Design Award 2010, Hannover

Rick Joutras | Qdesign & Whitney Architects

Rick JoutrasRick Joutras is a Sr. Designer at Qdesign (Q) and Sr. Project Manager for Whitney Architects. Q specializes in product design and development for the contract market, while Whitney focuses on corporate interior architecture, both are located in Oak Brook, IL. The expertise of the Whitney team, with corporate interiors, assists the Q team in developing an understanding of what kinds of new product designs are needed for this market.

In high school Rick said he “fell in love with creating and building things.” His plan was to attend the University of Michigan Engineering School. While on a tour of the University with his grandmother, an alumni, they met with the Dean who questioned Rick about what he enjoyed.  He told Rick that if he liked to create things he should check out the Industrial Design program instead.  Rick was so impressed he changed direction, gathered his portfolio, and went for the interview. Rick attended the University, working on a double major – Industrial Design and Organizational Psychology. He explained, “I wanted to learn how to understand the end user, how people work together and form groups to interact. Organizational Psychology provided observational research that the Industrial Design Program was lacking.”

What does Rick enjoy about his career?
“I like watching a concept coming to life and then seeing the end product. It’s fun to go through the process of solving the problems seen in today’s workplace.” Rick explained, “the team at Q works together, brainstorming to find the right solution for problems at hand and then creating something new.”

Rick believes that designers are constantly exposed to good design and mentally file those “images” to draw upon when developing product. Working with a team allows us to draw on everyone’s experience for a project.”

“I like watching a concept coming to life and then seeing the end product.  It’s fun to go through the process of solving the problems seen in today’s workplace. The team at Q works together, brainstorming to find the right solution for problems at hand and then creating something new.”

Rick said the toughest part of his job is convincing a client which way they should go, as well as keeping the project and process moving forward. Sometimes a project can get stalled when a client worries too much about the small details instead of the overall project.

Rick’s Tip to new product designers or students:

Rick advises, “It’s important to understand how things are built. There are constraints and rules, a rationale to everything in manufacturing and how products are made. New students are not given a grasp of how products are built, nor provided with an understanding how products are manufactured in the factory. You must question and be curious. Take things apart and put them back together. If you know how to build it, you can better design it.”

Alan Nehring | Nehring Design

Alan Nehring DesignAlan Nehring, Principal of Nehring Design, is a native of southern Illinois and an SIU graduate.  Alan moved to St Louis in 1993 and founded Nehring Design in 2008.  He describes his design studio as a full service boutique interior architecture firm, focusing on the corporate and healthcare markets.  Alan said, “We specialize in capturing our clients’ brand and infuse it architecturally into their space.  I wanted to keep the firm small so all team members have the opportunity to stay involved.  This creates a great collaborative environment.”

Alan’s Tip to new designers or students:

Alan advises, “Don’t look at any part or component of your job as smaller than you are. You can learn from any task, whether working in the library or taking notes in a client meeting, its an opportunity to learn. With any task, be the best, pay attention, and learn. Jump in and offer assistance with coworkers. Learn from every task and understand it is better to give than to take.”

Tim Buchenberger | Qdesign

Tim BuchenbergerTim Buchenberger is a Senior Designer at Qdesign (Q), an Oak Brook, IL firm whose business is product design.  Q describes itself as “an edgy, one-stop-shop for product development” and credits its success to its “always-curious and exceptionally gifted people.”  Their expertise, through sister company Whitney Architects(corporate interior architecture), provides them with the understanding of what products the marketplace needs for specific environments.

Tim is an Industrial Design graduate from Auburn University (2008). His first couple of years at Auburn Tim attended the architectural school, working towards his long time dream of becoming an architect. Since he was 10 years old, Tim was fascinated by architecture and the thought that someone could design and build these awesome spaces! Tim’s college roommate at the time was an industrial design student. After a couple of years of looking over his roommate’s shoulder, Tim became hooked on industrial design and changed his focus. He enjoyed the faster pace and wider range of what could be designed compared to architecture, as well as the hands-on of working in the shop and modeling his designs. Tim commented, “The interaction during the design process and thinking about how someone is going to use this product, then developing a product that meets those needs, is especially challenging, as well as rewarding.”

Tim describes product design at Q

Tim said the best part of working at Q is working with other designers, both at Q and Whitney. “There is great interaction, we bounce ideas off each other. Q is a creative environment, I am surrounded by other creative people, which inspires me and pushes my creative envelope.”

Tim told us that product design at Q starts out in a couple of ways. Sometimes their clients give them a design brief describing a product or a particular need and application, other times they develop a design concept in-house and propose it to a manufacturer.

“Every design is a discovery. There are always new ways to do something, new processes, new details, or different ways of using a product. Workplace needs are always changing.”

This process starts out with brainstorming sessions, everyone tossing out ideas with the understanding that no idea is a bad idea. They leave the meeting to go back and digest what was discussed, then regroup and take another look at components of the ideas, evaluate them, determine what is worth further development, go with it, refine it, and then refine it some more. Once this concept and sketch phase is approved it is ready for the next steps. Tim develops the computer models, during which he starts to evaluate product details and identify what will or won’t work in production, “it is a constant refinement process to reach the final product stage.”

Tim likes to encourage manufacturers to think outside the box, to introduce new, innovative products.

Coming from his first job in a manufacturing environment, Tim has a different perspective. He understands and considers how product will be manufactured while developing a design. He works to come up with a complete design solution to fit manufacturing capabilities. Tim says, “Every design is a discovery. There are always new ways to do something, new processes, new details, or different ways of using a product. Workplace needs are always changing.”

Tim describes the toughest part of his job as, “giving up some detail or a design that you really care about, realizing that it’s just not going to work. A product designer can fall in love with a design, but letting it go is all about growth and becoming a better designer. A lot of times tweaking works, rather than giving up on a design completely. A designer needs to learn when to tell the difference.”

Tim’s Tip to new product designers or students:

Tim would council, “Believe in yourself and your concepts, you are selling yourself. Your designs reflect who you are, take ownership and believe your design is 100% the best you can do. Often a designer can get stuck in limitations or manufacturing restrictions, you may feel stuck but must be able to push through the barriers. One cannot stop exercising creativity, keep learning and keep trying new ways. Push yourself with design and looking for new ways to do things. Clients and projects can be hard to land, stay true to yourself and you will stay successful.”

Leslie Reinking | designTECH

Leslie Reinking Design TechLeslie Reinking is an interior designer for designTECH, a small firm based in Sacramento, California. After graduating from Sacramento State University in 2003, Leslie joined designTECH, where she had worked previously as an intern. The firm works on a wide range of projects that include senior living facilities, hotels and restaurants. Its team of designers seeks to put the aesthetic elements first, letting the design guide choices about furniture.

Leslie has used Falcon tables in a number of projects throughout the course of her career. She has been especially drawn to Falcon’s flexibility, which allows her to adapt to the needs of her diverse set of clients. Leslie and her customers can take advantage of Falcon’s extensive product line and can call for custom pieces to meet specific design, spatial and functional needs.

Because of this reality, and since many of Leslie’s projects are in high-traffic areas such as restaurants, everything that she uses must be built to last. “With this particular product, that’s what I think of first: Pricing and durability and long term use,” she said.

Falcon’s competitive pricing has been especially important during the most recent recession, as clients focus more on their bottom lines. “Price point is key for a lot of these projects now,” Leslie said. “People hold off on purchasing things if the price point comes in too high. So it’s nice to have those options to present.”

Leslie said the relationship her team has with Falcon representatives is particularly helpful. “That is a huge help when specifying furniture is to have good support,” she said.

For more about designTECH, please click here.

Jan Edson | Edson Design

Jan Edson - Edson DesignJan Edson,s an interior designer who owns and operates Edson Design in Playa del Rey, California. She has nearly 23 years of experience in the design field, with more than 15 of those years at her own firm. Throughout that time, Jan has specialized in higher education spaces. She has worked on projects at USC, UCLA, Loyola Marymount University, Rio Hondo College, the J.Paul Getty Trust, Brentwood School, and other large institutions, mainly located in Southern California.

Jan has used Falcon’s MATS training tables for a wide spectrum of projects at Rio Hondo Community College, which is located just outside of Los Angeles. Rio Hondo had used Falcon products previously, and Jan has continued that standard, working closely with her Falcon representative.

She said she is especially drawn to the line’s “flexibility, durability and practicality.”

“It seemed to be very ‘workhorse,’ durable and a flexible product,” Jan said. Her projects at Rio Hondo often call for tables that must meet the demands of different applications with a wide range of requirements. Additionally, working for higher education institutions comes with a unique set of challenges. “I have to be very concerned about price point and function – and then I have to incorporate aesthetics,” Jan said. “So furniture has to be something that will perform, function and last and not have too much of a trendy feel to it.”

For this reason in particular, Falcon tables have been an ideal solution for Jan’s customer. “You can’t sell somebody something that won’t be there and won’t be around for them in five or even ten years. You’ve got to really think forward to what will really be around,” she said.

For more information about Edson Design, email Jan.

Ritu Sohal | Jarmel Kizel Architects and Engineers

Ritu Sohal - Jarmel Kizel Architects and EngineersRitu Sohal is a project manager at Jarmel Kizel Architects and Engineers in Livingston, New Jersey. She holds a bachelor’s degree in architecture and a master’s degree in management from the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

Ritu used Falcon tables while designing a New Jersey training center for a multinational corporation. The tables were installed in a 120-seat auditorium as well as in fourbreak-out meeting rooms, which hold 30 people each. Employees will use the spaces to collaborate and learn. Ritu, who says she favors contemporary design, was able to draw on Falcon’s wide range of products for this project. She strives to exceed the client’s expectations in every project. Her client wanted a modern space, and Falcon delivered.

“The product line is extensive and very flexible,” she said. “It can go in contemporary places and it can go in traditional places.”

In fact, Ritu needed to create custom-sized tables to meet the needs of this particular space. “We asked Falcon to do mockups for us and they sent everything to us so we could look at the product before we bought it. Usually furniture manufacturers are kind of hesitant about doing that,” she said. Ritu says she was thrilled with Falcon’s ability to meet her exacting standards for design, timing, and pricing. And her client loves the final product.

Lannetta Vander Knotts | Maraye Design Studio

Lannetta Vander KnottsLannetta Vander Knotts owns Maraye Design Studio in Columbus, Ohio. She holds a bachelor’s degree in interior design from Miami University and has more than a decade of design experience, specializing in facility planning, design, and management. Maraye Design Studio focuses on inspired interior design and hascompleted projects at The Ohio State University. “We let the project speak to us so that the true needs of the space and the prospective occupants dictate the direction of the design,” she said about her firm. “What the project needs is what the project gets.”

Lannetta has used Falcon products in more than half of her projects, and in a wide range of applications, from restaurant and food service areas to classrooms and offices. Because Lannetta deals with such a variety of projects, versatility is important. “The great thing about Falcon is that you can do custom projects,” she said. Often, she needs to create pieces that match specific design and space requirements. In those instances, Lannetta turns to Falcon’s extensive product line and tweaks the chair, table, or booth to her particular needs.

“The customer service is impeccable. They help me work out solutions.”

Lannetta says she’s been impressed with Falcon’s ability to help make her projects a success through attractive, durable products that meet her design and budget needs. “They’ve always been able to come through,” she said. “Plus, it looks really nice when it’s installed.”

Keri Moore | Studio Six5

Keri MorreKeri Moore is an interior designer at Studio Six5, an Austin, Texas, company that focuses exclusively on design elements for senior living communities. The firm works on large projects across the United States, providing design leadership for facilities that provide all levels of care for seniors, from retirement to end-of-life care. Keri received a bachelor’s degree in interior design from Texas State University and worked at Studio Six5 as an intern during her senior year of college.

Since Keri joined the company full-time in 2007, she’s used Falcon products in almost every project in which she’s participated. The communities Studio Six5 designs have a hospitality and residential feel. “You really don’t know you’re in a retirement community until you see older people walking around,” said Keri. That makes it especially important to utilize products that are elegant yet comfortable. Half of Studio Six5’s business revolves around making purchasing, and multi-million-dollar projects are a regular part of life at this successful and growing firm.

Keri has partnered with Falcon primarily for dining tables to use in continuing care retirement communities. She also has used Falcon’s tables and molded plastic chairs in multipurpose rooms, training areas and employee break rooms. She said she is especially drawn to Falcon’s durability and the ease with which custom orders can be completed. “Hands down they’re the best supplier that we have for that type of product,” she said about Falcon.

“We don’t even shop around anymore. Falcon offers a huge range. It’s a one stop shop.”

Keri has a great relationship with her Falcon representative, who is able to deliver fast, accurate pricing quotes. Plus, Falcon offers flexible products – something that’s vital for a designer who moves from equipping dining areas to art rooms to beauty salons in a single project.